Postdoctoral Research Scientist (Tree of Life Pollinators)
Post Details
Job Title
Postdoctoral Research Scientist (Tree of Life Pollinators)
Post Number
Closing Date
1 Jul 2019
Starting Salary
£31,250 - £38,100
Hours per week
Project Title
Postdoctoral Research Scientist - Tree of life Pollinators
Months Duration

Job Description

Main Purpose of the Job

The post holder will be directly involved in a large collaborative project, the Darwin Tree of Life, ultimately aiming to sequence every species from the British Isles. As part of the Darwin Tree of Life initiative and in close collaboration with Ian Barnes at the Natural History Museum London, the post holder will assemble and analyse the genome sequences of major Hymenoptera pollinators. A major objective of the project is to characterise the current genomic diversity of the UK populations and through the sequencing of museum samples reconstruct the demographic history of these emblematic species and investigate the genomic impact of their population decline.

The post holder will be required to work with relevant EI staff and with outside collaborators to carry out necessary research to meet key deliverables for the project. The post holder may also serve as a key technical resource to clarify issues, participate in analysis, and apply comprehensive knowledge to contribute to the completion of assignments as part of several research projects

Key Relationships

Internal: Group Leader, EI’s Deputy Directors, Director and Senior Management Team. EI’s Science Faculty and Research Teams.

External: Collaborators, Darwin Tree of Life consortium, Senior visitors to EI, collaborators, conference attendees, BBSRC and other key stakeholders

Main Activities & Responsibilities

Generate the genome assemblies of selected Hymenoptera species sampled from the wild and from museum collections.
Investigate the current genetic diversity in UK of key pollinators species using low coverage genome sequencing and population genomics.
Investigate the evolution of pollinator populations across time through integration of genetic diversity data from contemporary and historical samples.
Act as a key technical resource to clarify issues, participate in analysis, and apply comprehensive knowledge to contribute to the completion of assignments as part of several research projects.
Prepare results, reports and manuscripts for publication in leading scientific journals and other relevant media.
Collaborate with colleagues within the Institute in the development of original and world-class research, including contributing to research proposals and grant applications.
Disseminate research findings through presentations to various audiences at internal, national and international meetings.
Ensure research and record keeping is carried out in accordance with good practice, Scientific Integrity and in compliance with local policies and any legal requirements.
As agreed with line manager, any other duties commensurate with the nature of the role

Person Profile

Education & Qualifications

PhD in population genetics, bioinformatics, computational biology or related subject with experience of working on genomics and transcriptomics data and bioinformatics

Specialist Knowledge & Skills

Demonstrated skills in at least one of the following programming languages: Python (preferable), Java, C++, R
Pertinent experience in Linux and in shell scripting
Experience of transcriptomics, genomics or epigenomics analyses
Experience in population genetics, or comparative genomics analyses
Excellent problem solving skills with the ability to solve problems with numerous and complex variables
Solid understanding of statistics for biology
Excellent record-keeping and time management skills to work on several different projects at the same time

Relevant Experience

Experience in genomics or genetics projects
Experience with next generation sequencing (RNA-Seq, DNA-Seq) and large-scale data analysis
Experience in population genetics
Experience of working on externally funded projects

Interpersonal & Communication Skills

Good organisational skills
Able to communicate with an interdisciplinary group including data analysts, computer scientists and biologists
Excellent communication skills, both written and verbal
Excellent interpersonal skills, with the ability to work well as part of a team
Networking and influencing skills and the ability to build effective collaborative links
Evidence of presenting research findings to internal and external audiences

Additional Requirements

Promotes equality and values diversity
Must be able to travel and work a non-conventional work pattern on occasion
Willingness to embrace the expected values and behaviours of all staff at the Institute, ensuring it is a great place to work
Able to present a positive image of self and the Institute, promoting both the international reputation and public engagement aims of the Institute
Attention to detail

Who We Are

Earlham Institute

Earlham Institute is a vibrant, contemporary research institute and registered charity, working in an area of rapid technological development and innovation.

Earlham Institute is strategically funded by the BBSRC to lead the development of a skill base in bioinformatics and a genomics technology platform for UK bioscience. The Institute is located on the Norwich Research Park, together with its partners: the John Innes Centre, the Institute of Food Research, The Sainsbury Laboratory, the University of East Anglia and the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. The research park has an excellent reputation for research in plant and microbial sciences, interdisciplinary environmental science and food, diet and health, to which Earlham Institute contributes strengths in genomics and bioinformatics. Close links exist between the NRP partners and new opportunities for collaboration in exciting new initiatives are under development. The NRP recently received £26M of government investment to facilitate innovation and further develop infrastructure to attract science and technology companies to the Park to enhance the vibrant environment and realise economic impact from research investment.

Earlham Institute is a UK hub for innovative Bioinformatics through research, analysis and interpretation of multiple, complex data sets. It hosts one of the largest computing hardware facilities dedicated to life science research in Europe. This has been boosted recently by an e-Infrastructure grant to expand the data storage capacity to a multi-petabyte unit, deploying a high performance cluster and large-memory server enabling the allocation of processes requiring several terabytes of computing memory.

Earlham Institute’s state of the art DNA sequencing facility operates multiple complementary technologies for data generation that provide the foundation for analyses furthering our fundamental understanding of genomes and how they function. We aim to be at the forefront of technological advances and are developing and implementing technologies to generate and analyse new types of data. We also develop novel platforms to provide access to computational tools and processing capacity for multiple academic and industrial users and promoting applications of computational bioscience. Earlham Institute has one fully owned subsidiary, Genome Enterprise Ltd (GEL) via which it offers genomic and bioinformatics services on a trading basis and works with commercial providers on a partnership basis. Earlham Institute also receives specific funding to enable knowledge exchange programmes which are supported across the institute teams.


Organisms and Ecosystems


Advert Text

Postdoctoral Research Scientist (Tree of Life Pollinators)

The Earlham Institute is looking for three motivated people to join the new Darwin Tree of Life Programme that aims to sequence the genomes of 66,000 known species of animals, plants, protozoa and fungi in the UK. This is part of a global effort to sequence the genomes of 1.5 million species on Earth.

Work at the Earlham Institute will focus on analysing genomes to further our understanding of evolutionary processes that drive biodiversity in populations and ecosystems. We are also involved in applying genomics to the conservation and management of valuable ecosystems and to the sustainable use of biodiversity for public good.

All three roles will be based at the Earlham Institute on the Norwich Research Park where they will join a diverse community of scientists with expertise in genomics, biology, evolution, bioinformatics, computing and biotechnology.”

One of these roles is for a Postdoctoral Research Scientist (Tree of Life Pollinators) to join the join the Laboratory of Dr Wilfried Haerty.


The Darwin Tree of Life consortium aims to generate the genome sequence of every living species of the British Isles.

As part of this highly collaborative project, we will sequence, assemble and investigate the genomes of key Hymenoptera pollinator species. We aim to characterise the current genomic diversity of these species, identify key demographic parameters and through the sequencing of historical samples establish past genomic diversity and infer the evolutionary trajectories of these emblematic yet declining species.

This BBSRC funded project will be based in the Haerty lab at the Earlham Institute and in collaboration with Ian Barnes at the Natural History Museum, London.

The role:

This project will generate and compare genomic data from key Hymenoptera pollinator species sampled from current populations and museum collections. The post holder will be responsible for the assembling the genomes from long and short read sequencing technologies, calling genetic variation from low coverage sequencing of wild and museum specimen.

The post holder will investigate the genomic diversity of current populations, infer demographic parameters and compare these observations of past genetic diversity inferred from collection samples enabling the development of demographic models, and the study of the genomic impact of the populations decline on genomic diversity.

The ideal candidate:

The candidate must have a PhD in bioinformatics, evolutionary biology, population genetics or a related subject. They should have experience with population genetics, and genomics data. The candidate should have working knowledge of programming languages such as Python, Perl, or R. They must be motivated and interested in applying innovative approaches to population genetics and comparative genomics.

Additional information:

Salary on appointment will be within the range £31,250 to £38,100 per annum depending on qualifications and experience. This is a full time post for a contract of 2 years.

As a Disability Confident employer, we guarantee to offer an interview to all disabled applicants who meet the essential criteria for this vacancy.

The closing date for applications will be 1 July 2019.